Author Topic: Eating and spending on a two month biking spree  (Read 31061 times)

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  • Guest
Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2007, 06:59:25 am »
Stephanie, get down on your knees, cup your hands around that little flicker of doubt, add some biodegradable, low carbon footprint fuel to it, and blow gently.  Turn that little spark of light into a flame that will enlighten and warm you.  That flicker, Stephanie, is your common sense.

I don't think that there is any way to reconcile the dumpster diver, "throw yourself on the charity of others", stealth camping crowd and the self-reliant, independent, pay-your-own way crowd.  But it seems that the latter have expended far more time and effort to express their opinions here.

I think it's for two reasons.  One, because they have seen the dumpster type of tourer and it embarasses them.  They think that the people they meet will become of the opinion that bicycle tourers are really bums, presenting themselves as helpless so people will be morally obligated to take care of them.  This breeds resentment and makes it more difficult for the next tourer who may genuinely need the (for emergencies only) largess of the locals because the tourer has broken down or has fallen ill - or just fallen!

The other reason is that they seriously want to help you with your dilemma at what appears to be a crossroads of your life.  Believe me, your children won't care that you did this.  Nobody will admire you.  In fact, I bet that when you regale others with your tale in the future, you'll leave out the part where you picked through trash cans or ate other peoples' discarded food.  You'll leave out the part where you huddled out of the rain wet and miserable in some drainage ditch or where you were assaulted in the night by some fellow hobo.

If you are truly seeking advice, please listen to the experience of those who have made an investment of their time in you - a complete stranger.  Wait to tour until you have the money to do it properly.  Even then you won't be spending much money.  :)

Offline MikeL

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2007, 09:52:46 am »
I don't know if anybody actually answered the question about how much it might cost.

I guess one answer is nothing -- if you can really get all your food out of dumpsters (are you serious?) and guerrilla camp every night, where's the expense?

The reality is though even aside from the disease and gross-out issues dumpster diving isn't going to get you anywhere.  A bum might be able to live on dumpster diving since he's just hanging out all day, but biking every day is an entirely different animal.  (Think eating twice as much, if not more, than you usually do, and still being hungry.)  There's no possibility that it will get you the calories you need, much less the necessary nutritional balance.  So really that just shouldn't be an option.  Guerrilla camping, on the other hand, probably can be found along long stretches of the route.

So Stephanie let's say you decide to buy all your food and go as cheap as possible.  Cheap staples are lipton dinners, PB & tortillas, instant oatmeal, granola bars, and maybe ramen (I'd say easy mac but sounds like that's out for you).  Then when you get to a store cook up some perishables (like frozen vegetables) to balance your diet as much as possible.  (Also try to find some protien -- don't know where you'll get that but you should find out.) If you're dedicated to eating this stuff, and won't be tempted by cafes, showers, and the like (good luck), maybe you can slide by on $10-15 a day.  Try it out for a long weekend ride and see what it runs you.

I respect what you're doing and agree that if you have the time off, that's often harder to come by than the money.  So do it while you can.  But cyclesafe's point is well taken.  When you do things like dumpster dive, ask for handouts, and get caught guerrilla camping, you can make things less friendly for those who will come after you.  So for them, if not yourself, it is good practice to be self-reliant as much as possible, at a minimum for your food. (This is especially true along well-traveled routes like the transam.)

Anyway, good luck... this sounds like it will be something you won't forget for awhile.

Offline RussellSeaton

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2007, 11:21:27 am »
Someone wrote:
"eating out of dumpsters and off tables is obviously not for everyone
but i don't consider it immoral so have no problems with it."

And if people go through your trash cans(dumpster) at your house you have no problem with it?  Dumpsters are owned by someone.  Someone is responsible for the trash that gets pulled out of the dumpster.  At a restaurant, the restaurant owner will have to pick up the pulled out trash because he/she does not want his/her restaurant looking trashy and driving customers away.  The restaurant owner would also not like his/her customers seeing people going through the dumpsters because it might cause people to not eat there.  Bizarre notion, I know but it might keep people from the restaurant.  I guess the only people who would not have any problems with digging through dumpsters is the person doing the digging and an internet stranger.

"i have never slept in a drainage ditch though i'm not to proud to if the
need arises."

Please explain where the "need arises"?  The person asking the question is taking a bicycling vacation.  Let me repeat, bicycling vacation.  Vacation being the key word here.  If the person asking the original question does not take the vacation, then the person will have no need to sleep in ditches, or dig in dumpsters, etc.  The person can just stay home and do whatever they are doing now.  Or take day long bike rides and go back home at the end of the day.  Or do multi day rides where you carry all of your food and camping gear or ride to friends/relatives houses.  No need to sleep in ditches that way.

The person who wrote in small letters seems to confuse need and want.  A two month biking vacation is a want.

"i'm not sure what is meant by facilities meant for others."

Probably has to do with using other's property, such as dumpsters, bathrooms, etc. without permission or paying for it.  I'm not sure its stealing per se, but it would be trespassing.

"i don't want to use this space to debate the right or wrong way to travel
with little or no money"

There is nothing wrong, or right, about traveling with little to no money.  But there is something wrong when you CHOOSE, its a vacation, to use other people's property (bathrooms, water hydrants, dumpsters, land) without permission and without buying something there.  Businesses are not in business to provide free public bathrooms.  Most do not complain because the people doing that, I do it occassionally at McDonalds, etc., are potential customers or current customers and do not cause any extra problems.  I've eaten at McDonalds all over the world and still eat there.

"let's just say different people have different views and all are valid."

No.  All views are not valid.  Some people think its OK to take the property of others.  Some people think its OK to trespass on other people's property.  Some people think its OK to inconvenience, irritate, etc. others if it pleases them.  I don't think any of these views are valid.

"p.s. why grow up?"

No need to grow up in spirit.  But actions are different.  At certain ages, a person assumes more responsibility, legally and financially for their actions.  If a 3 year old uses a marker to draw a picture the walls of your house, you can forgive that.  If a 6 year old does it, you can still forgive it but not as quickly.  If a 12 year old does it, may have crossed the fine line.  If an 18 year old does it, my knuckles would meet that 18 year olds teeth.

Offline StephanieP

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2007, 01:01:10 pm »
I haven't actively replied to any specific emails because I haven't felt it necessary to impose my personal viewpoint the way that I feel some posters have. After all, this is the internet. I would, however, like to clarify that I have been vegan for a fabulous five years. I am extremely active as a one who chooses to commute 20 miles on weekdays, rather than waste the gasoline it would take to get to school. The issue, for me, is not whether or not I can survive as a vegan, but, how I might obtain food during the more desolate stretches of Route 66, and what type of food will be available (Namely homegrown restaurants? Fast food joints? Supermarkets?). I find it rather absurd that many posters have brushed off the notion of not eating dairy entirely. As for dumpster diving, as highly debated as it may be, I believe that it is an issue only in a society that is marked by commericalized development, and the need for a stratified enconomy in order to suceed. If we were hunter/gatherers, there would be no need to chastize me for dumpster diving. Provided that I consider myself to be law-obiding, I have no moral opposition to obtaining food as such. Disgusting? Utter waste is disgusting to me (As is Mcdonald's...).  Also, I feel that it is outside the bounds of anyone here to determine whether this is an appropriate instance in my life to take a 'vacation'. As one who had the "pridviledge" of being financially independent for much of my teens, I feel confident in my decision to leave, now, and in my ability to provide for myself whilst on tour, albeit lawfully. Furthermore, as someone who has been fortunate enough at times in my own life to provide for strangers by giving them my leftovers or a place to stay the night, I feel no dignity is lost sharing. In fact, I believe that thriftiness may be a virtue (And thank you, to the poster who linked me with warmshowers!) Yes, it is my choice to travel. And if I am disposed to hospitality of others, I will not feel guilty for it. However, I can say with confidence that I am willing to do it all, myself, if I feel that I am ever compromising the dignity of my companions or of other people. Sleeping on the roadside, stealing? I doubt it. Those roadsides have covered a thousand tracks of people whose land was stolen from under them in order to pave it. Be grateful for what you have, but don't 'other' those who are of a different opinion. Be reasonable in your judgements. I have no intention of humiliating the cyclists who come after me, if they have no intention of judging me for choosing to give freely and live frugally. And please, keep this on topic.

This message was edited by StephanieP on 4-1-07 @ 12:04 PM


  • Guest
Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #19 on: April 01, 2007, 03:35:57 pm »
Like I said, the views of the divers and the non-divers cannot be reconciled.  It's because they are based on different premises.  One choses to sometimes act beyond the bounds of societal norms, the other choses to act strictly within them.

I'm curious how you can square being "law abiding" with the rest of the lunatic-fringe babble about "commercialized development", "stratified enconomy", and "stolen land"? Hunter/gatherers didn't dumpster dive - they became farmers and otherwise built capital the instant that it occurred to them that it was in their best interests to do so.

Go into a gas station convenience store in Illinois and figure out how you're going to make a vegan meal out of what's there.  This represents your selection over vast distances on Route 66 (of what's left of it).  BTW, if Paul is right about Route 66, you might instead consider one of the ACA routes on this web site.


  • Guest
Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2007, 03:37:46 pm »
>>As for dumpster diving, as highly debated as it may be, I believe
that it is an issue only in a society that is marked by commericalized
development, and the need for a stratified enconomy in order to
suceed. If we were hunter/gatherers, there would be no need to
chastize me for dumpster diving>>

You're joking, right? Who filled your head with that nonsense? Our
concern over your eating habits while on tour is based on common
sense, not some absurd intellectual ramblings. Cro-Magnon man bit
the dust, so you feel compelled to rummage around in trash cans?

You did ask for general advice, correct? We all wish for you a safe and
positive journey, but eating food from garbage cans is unhealthy and
downright silly. Some of us also feel that sleeping by the side of the
road is an unnecessary risk - regardless of what may have taken place
in the 19th Century.

Are you determined to partake in some sort of bohemian thrill ride -
while wrapped in the banner of political correctness? If so, then by all
means, indulge yourself!

Offline DaveB

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2007, 04:49:37 pm »
You have to understand that there is no group of people a naive or as accepting of populous rhetoric as recent college graduates.  They really believe all that philosophical babble they have been exposed to really describes the way things work.  They totally lack personal experience and perspective.  

Give her a break, she will probably grow up sometime. In the meantime let her live out her delusion that she can really change the way people behave.


  • Guest
Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2007, 05:20:40 pm »
I hope she snaps out of it quickly.  If she's as smart as she appears to be, she will be laughing at herself soon enough.  How can any of us not crack up at photographs taken of ourselves when we were in college?  Hey, at least she went to college.  Or if "school" refers to High School, all is explained.

This message was edited by cyclesafe on 4-1-07 @ 4:22 PM

Offline ptaylor

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2007, 01:28:11 pm »

I wish you the best. Please get back ,to us after your trip, and let us all know how it went.

BTW, thanks also for opening one of the most interesting threads I've ever seen on this forum. (I think your reference to 'dumpster diving' charged all of our imaginations)


Offline Stalls

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2007, 06:53:05 pm »
"bohemian thrill ride" - I suspect this is what it is. That's not an insult to the original poster. Heck, I want to do the Nothern Tier to try an experience and put to thought how those fur tarppers, fronteirs men of the past must have felt, experienced. This is my way of putting images that I read in many books of that time into reality as best can be done, from my own personnal viewpoint. I've slept on park benches thousand of miles over oceans and lands with very little money and no place to go. In these situations you eat what you can and when you can. You have no choice sometimes. When I do have the choice I will eat a salad over red meat and not use McDonalds etc.  So I don't possibly see the enjoyment of doing it for a vacation, I sence you are seeking a spiritual trip in some form. You have made a decision in 'normal' day to day living to be a vegan, I respect that. But these norms do not apply 40 miles from the nearest shop when you risk possibly your whole bike trip and health due to lack of calories, vitimans etc. Dumster diving for meat is one thing, doing it for a vegan diet is another...most foods are consumed with meat that will have the jucies on the leafs etc. Have you thought of this possibilty, what will be your plan 'B' be in such senarios. We all tour for different reasons, just be safe and well planned and possess the skills to survive in your intend journey. ;)

Offline stevep

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2007, 08:46:53 am »
Hey Stephanie-

Thanks for sharing and Im sorry you recieved so much hostility about your views.

There is nothing wrong with dumpster diving, though realize that you will be going through some serious small towns and expect to recieve the same attitude that you have recieved from some folks here. You can camp for free most places, and you can hit up VFDs and similar places for showers.
edit: After thinking a bit, from my dumpstering experience, sometimes it was hit or miss as to the booty. After riding 70-80 miles a day, I dont know if you will have the energy to cruise around town to all the stores, especially if pickin's are slim. Have a back-up plan.

My wife and I did a tour and I was vegetarian and my wife was vegan. It was super hard for her. I made it ok, it wasnt really that hard for me. You have to stick by your guns and realize that a choice like that requires some sacrifice, be ready for it. Whats the point of having morals like that if you put them on hold when it gets hard?
edit: I just talked to my wife and I had forgotten that she started to eat cheese on the tour, fat was hard to come by.

Forget the nay-sayers that tell you to grow up, welfare, blah blah blah, do it. You only live once and you dont need their permission to do it.

I think we did our tour on 10/15 a day.

This message was edited by stevep on 4-5-07 @ 8:15 AM

Offline DaveB

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2007, 06:43:35 pm »
You only live once and you dont need their permission to do it.

Of course she doesn't need out "permission" but she did ask our opinions and we shared what we thought.  She is free to accept or reject any advise at her whim.  If you don't want to hear what people think, don't ask.  


  • Guest
Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2007, 07:44:15 pm »
Plus, where's the hostility?  Dumpster diving is plain stupid, and "hitting up" to secure a "booty" taxes the largess of the locals to the possible detriment of following tourers.  Taking responsibility for oneself is a hallmark of maturity.  Not doing so is the act of a child.


  • Guest
Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2007, 10:22:13 pm »

I think you know well enough to disregard all of the non-bike touring related commentary you've read so far. I also hope you know to disregard all the condescension.  

I can tell you that I have toured as a vegan and a vegetarian and it can be done. Just like "Vegan Rob" can win solo 24 hour endurance races, any vegan for whom a vegan diet is already working can make the necessary increase in calories to tour. It isn't as convenient as an unlimited diet - but you know that already. Eating vegan *and* dumpstering is likely to prove a bit more difficult and time consuming but if you're adept at both where you live you've likely got the skills to make it work and anyway, there's no harm in trying.

My last bit of advice is for you to pick us the latest issue of Dirt Rag magazine (Issue #127) and refer to the article "Do-It-Yourself Bike Touring". Hell, get back to me with your address and I'll mail you a photocopy. The article focuses on touring advice from  a guy named Nick Lubecki who has toured all over the US and Canada on bikes cobbled together out of spare parts found at various bike co-ops. He covers, albeit briefly, the basics of nutrition, camping, and setting up your rig for DIY trips that likely cost him less than $500 from beginning to end, including gear.

Do what works for you. Be safe and have fun. Feel free to contact me off the list if you like: tofubicycle (at) gmail (dot) com.

......... __ o
......(O) (O)...........
i'd rather be biking.

Offline bruno

Eating and spending on a two month biking spree
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2007, 07:02:36 am »
tofu beat me too it, but that article about the dude tourin' on beater bikes and eatin' free pizza and stuff was great! again, don't listen to naysayers! get out there!!!!